The two make an attractive pair for Washington TV producers. Each chairs his respective party's governors association, and both are close enough to the nation's capital that they can come to the studio.
We don't like to pick winners. But we can say this: Maryland's governor, a Democrat, had a far easier go during the roughly 10-minute, live-to-tape interview, than did McDonnell, a Republican. Host David Gregory lobbed O'Malley friendly questions about signs of economic recovery and women's rights.
That allowed O'Malley to make broad statements such as: "There is no more important news than the good news we are seeing in the economy" and "I do believe the overriding issue in this race is jobs."
O'Malley also had the chance to lament how Republicans are "rolling back" reproductive rights for women and rights for workers when they should be using the "J" word — jobs — more often.
Gregory saved the most pointed inquires for McDonnell, grilling Virginia's governor on a controversial measure he backed that would have required women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before having an abortion.
Gregory wanted to know: Did McDonnell back away from the idea because of the "political heat" he took, or because it was the wrong idea?
McDonnell tried to pivot back to the economy and the presidential election and also attempted to squeeze in some commentary about O'Malley's tax-encrusted budget.
Gregory wouldn't move: "This is the state of Virginia mandating women to have an additional procedure," Gregory said.
O'Malley weighed in, saying "cultural battles" are not "helpful" and distract from J. J. J.
At the end, Gregory asked O'Malley to assess how McDonnell would do as a vice presidential pick.
"This is your chance, Martin," McDonnell said, bracing for a hit.
O'Malley instead said McDonnell would be a better "job creator" than GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.